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Busch led 27 of the 200 laps in Sunday’s Pala Casino 400, and his No. 8 RCR Chevrolet was 2.998 seconds in front at the checkered flag. His fifth win at the 2-mile California track marked the 61st of his Cup Series career. It’s also Busch’s first win in a Chevy since 2007.
“Welcome to RCR, baby,” the No. 8 radio said as he crossed the line. “First of many.”
Busch paired up with Hall of Fame team owner Richard Childress this season, in a blockbuster deal that was announced last September. That new direction in his racing career came after a long tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota, which had been his partners since the start of the 2008 campaign.
“I think it ranks high just because it ranks to the fact of I can do it,” Busch said in his post-race interview with FOX Sports. “I never doubted myself, but sometimes you do. You kind of get down on it, you wonder what’s going on and what’s happening and you put yourself in a different situation and you’re able to come out here and reward your guys. It’s not about me always winning but it’s about the guys. I’ve been with a lot of great people that have given me a lot of great opportunities in my career, so it’s awesome to be able to reward them. I’m going to enjoy it for sure, and hopefully there’s many more left to go.”
Chase Elliott finished second in the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Ross Chastain led a race-high 91 laps in the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet, but placed third, just ahead of teammate Daniel Suárez in a 1-2-3-4 sweep by Camaro drivers.
Home-state favorite Kevin Harvick led five laps and finished fifth in his 750th consecutive Cup Series start.
A nine-car crash thinned the field of contenders during Stage 2. Among them was pole-starter Christopher Bell, who exited early alongside Ryan Preece, Tyler Reddick and Aric Almirola.
The race was announced as the final Cup Series event on the 2-mile configuration of the Fontana, Calif., oval. The venue is planning a redesign to a short track and won’t host a NASCAR weekend in 2024.
This story will be updated.